Looking beyond the face value of a website

Submitted by gazza on Mon, 03/02/2014 - 21:09

There is so much more to a website than meets the eye. In the quest to get noticed on line, are you looking solely at appearance only? Scratch deeper than the surface on a well performing website and you will find a whole myriad of inner workings that look and appear to be nothing more than a jumble of boring code.

However it is this boring jumble that is hiding the treasures of your future on line success. So forget the flash and perfecting the toning of those images, it is time to get down to the nitty gritty and analyse what is going on back stage.

The back end of a website

The back end of the website is what I like to term as the back stage area. This is you sitting in the back looking out at your audience. You see on line, the audience is there, you just have to bring them to the stage. Going into the back end of a website is where you can see all these workings. It is often overlooked as mumbo jumble and certainly to the untrained eye it seems like a no go area but for your website to work and perform how you want it to you have to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in....or you could hire an SEO expert! ;)

Taking care of your on page SEO

Each page of your website has a purpose and it's exact purpose must be demonstrated to Users and Google – yes there are other search engines, but seeing as Google will bring the vast majority of traffic to your site, it makes sense to be aware of what Googles site bots – the machines that crawl your site and ultimately decide how important it is – are looking for.

Page optimisation is a must – a lot of what you do will be trial and error because that is basically what the tests, trials and errors of page optimisation brings to the table. Basically speaking each page has to be the perfect size, load in perfect timing and be perfectly error free.

Get this balance right and all your combined efforts particularly relating to your other on line activities such as social media and content building will work to your favour.

Search engine performance must dos

Do you know what a great alt tag is? Do you know it can get a click through to your website in quick time – and before the website ranking above you? If you don't use image and title alt tags, you're wasting a lot of your promotional efforts. An image alt tag is simply words used to accurately describe an image. Imagine if you couldn’t see any images on your website, how would you describe what is there?

Images in search engines are another excellent opportunity to call people over to your website to take a look.

Key Aim – To attract clicks to your website.

Less errors and absolutely no duplicate content

There is nothing more frustrating than getting excited about a link then clicking on it to discover the page just isn't there any more and you're faced with an error message of mumbo jumbo. Similarly you don't want to see lots of websites all showing the same information – you've read it once, you don't need to be shown it constantly. The Google bots dislike error messages and page duplication as much as us humans so they view sites with error messages ,duplication and broken links as less important than smooth well oiled websites. Rightly so, website owners who work hard at keeping their websites running smoothly should be rewarded.

Key Aim: Keep on the right side of SEO and address error messages and duplicate content.

What you see isn't what the bot sees....

Going back to the mantra at the top of this article – there is much more to a website than meets the eye. The basic text on a site is what the Google bots reads and takes notice of. Flashy logos, videos and images might look good on the outside but unfortunately the bots don't always acknowledge this and if you want your website to perform well in search engines then you need to make use of text as much as you possible can.

By viewing the source code of your website, you can see your website how the bots view it. This is what I refer to as the back stage. See how much of the points below you can tick off. The more you can tick off the more satisfied the bots will be.

Ensure your logo shows up as text
Is the navigation working as it should be and unbroken?
Is the main page content showing up right after navigation?
Are there any hidden elements that are showing up?
Is the content correctly formatted?
Is the rest of the page aside from content showing up?

Key Aim: To ensure that everything you need Google to know about is contained in the text

Trim the fat

If your website is bogged down with gadgets, widgets and other accessories, it may be affecting load times. There is nothing more annoying than a web page that takes forever to load, so to answer this frustration Google now favours fast performing web pages. Yes its time to get that Nitrofuel into your website and get rid of any unneeded items and programmes that may be slowing your website down.

Key Aim: Keep your eye on page length and load times. The shorter the better here – in both cases.

Does your site know a desktop from an Iphone?

If your website stands any chance of withstanding the test of time I hope the answer is yes! A website in 2014 needs to be responsive and mobile friendly. This means that whatever device your website is viewed on it will always appear in a user friendly way. Fed up with trying to navigate a website on a smartphone where you can barely read the text? Me too!

A responsive website resizes automatically to every screen size and dependant on the device it is being used on.

Key Aim: To meet the website needs of the growing number of people using tablets and smartphones to browse the internet.

Content is the new black for 2014

Google is richly rewarding websites who concentrate on building up quality content. This is more than just publishing press releases. It's about writing your own unique content in the form of articles and blogs. The content needs to be relevant to your website. If you combine this with authorship on Google+ then this will work very favourably for you in search engines.

Be wary of content from guest bloggers – be sure they will blog for your site regularly, write useful content and they're not going to offer their content to other websites.

Key Aim: To publish regular uniquely written content for your website.

Do not forget about design....really

I know I've told you that design isn't the be all and end all. And yes I still believe it isn't. However, functional design does matter – that is design that will help your readers enjoy their website experience with you. Web visitors in general don't like scrolling – so keep your useful content – keep what you want your readers to see above the fold – basically that means they don't have to scroll down to see more. Google want to see websites that are accessible and readable without ads and other distractions getting in the way.

Key Aim: Not to let the point of your website get overlooked by other items on your site.

Keep up to date with the SEO game

To become mega successful with SEO, you need to keep up to date with the latest developments. All SEO experts know that SEO never stops moving – as soon as the track is laid the train is coming down the track!

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